I've decided to throw my opinion into the age-old debate: What's cuter, puppies or babies?
I recently began babysitting for the little one. She's 10 months old, the age when babies begin to develop personalities, and in my opinion, it's probably their cutest age. This is the pre-tantrum-throwing age. And they've grown out of the
frighteningly ugly-alien-looking stage awkward-looking young baby phase (The awkward phase I'm referring to is the one when everyone is like "oh, she's so cute" and I think there's something wrong with me because all I see is an oddly shaped pooping/eating/crying machine). But, I digress.
Back to the debate; baby or puppy. Women probably don't come across this too often. It's hardly a rarity to see a woman pushing a stroller, many times with a dog in tow. But, every twenty to thirty-five-year-old man who's ever walked a cute dog or pushed a stroller (without his significant other standing by his side) has probably noticed the miraculous happening where the attention of nearly every woman in sight is drawn to you. I often bring along my dog when I babysit. Early on during our walks around Boston Proper, based on the reactions of passersby, there were a few times where I actually thought a celebrity or professional sports player might have been walking behind me. I quickly realized the phenomenon that was and is still taking place, and since it's a known fact that I like attention, I have embraced it. "Sure you can pet my dog.... Oh, the baby? Thanks, isn't she cute? She's actually not mine. She's my wife's little cousin. I'm taking care of her for the day. It's kind of like one of those parenting workshops, only I don't even have to pay for it. How great?"
Editor's note: Notice the word "wife" comes up in that conversation. I'm happily married. I enjoy the attention, but it's not like I'm looking to pick up a date out of it. So, my readers are not allowed to judge me on this one. Besides, I've seen creative entrepreneurs go as far as renting out puppies by the hour. Judge them. Their aimed demographic is single twenty-something year-old men (I believe Boston actually blocked one of these business from setting up in the city).
So, puppies or babies? On my numerous walks with both, I found many more people are drawn to the dog than to the adorable baby. Seriously. The truth is, it's not a matter of who's cuter, it's a matter of who's crazier. Yes. Crazier! City folk know, the only people who ever talk to you are lost tourists or crazies; on the train, at a crosswalk (who am I kidding, Bostonians don't use crosswalks), in line at the deli, wherever. Yeah, you all know exactly what I'm talking about.
Then, there are dog people. It's well-documented, dog people (including myself) are crazy. Proof: they spend more money on their dogs than they do on themselves. Look at the recession numbers: an estimated $43.4 billion was spent on pets in 2008, up from $41.2 billion in 2007 (source: http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_hb4728/is_3_196/ai_n31438091/).
And for some reason, whenever there's a cute dog, they (again, including myself) feel the need to engage the dog's owner in conversation.
The most impressive piece of work I have ever witnessed was when some classless woman in her mid-forties walked up and stopped in front of the three of us. She leaned over, pet my dog, talked to it, told it she has dogs like him at home, and went on her way without acknowledging or making eye contact with me or the baby. I was stunned and amused. "Hi, um... Hello? Hello?"
"Baby people", on the other hand, are relatively docile. Chances are, they have children. That means they are too exhausted from dealing with those children to strike up a conversation. Hell, I'm just babysitting while I write this post and I'm too tired to finish it. So I guess this is the end.